Can you get $25,000 for being Black from the Village of Evanston?
Plus you get to have your picture in the paper holding a plaque! I'd like to give a big shout out to the lucky taxpayers in Evanston who are helping these folks on their "path to healing".
1st-round housing reparations recipients in Evanston choose how they’ll use their $25K grant: It’s ‘critical first steps on our path to healing’
By Alexandra Hulvalchick
Pioneer Press, May 03, 2022 at 5:44 pm
Evanston city officials hosted a private dinner and ceremony April 25, 2022, at an undisclosed venue, to honor the first 16 people to receive up to $25,000 each as part of the city's Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program. (City of Evanston / HANDOUT)
The first recipients of housing reparations in Evanston have selected how they want to use their up to $25,000 grant, city officials announced in a news release Monday, with the group choosing a mix of mortgage payment assistance and upgrades to their existing home.
The money is part of Evanston’s Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program, further marking the start of reparation allocations from the city.
As part of the program, up to $25,000 will be awarded to each person to be used towards purchasing a home, providing mortgage assistance, paying for home improvements or a combination of these options. Six recipients selected a home improvement benefit, six opted for a home improvement and mortgage assistance combination, two selected mortgage assistance only and one participant will be using funds to purchase a home. One person has not made a final decision.
“This is a historic milestone and an extraordinary ‘first’ for our Black community, the City of Evanston, and the entire nation,” Evanston Reparations Committee Chair and 2nd Ward alderman Peter Braithwaite said in the release. “Although these benefits in no way constitute complete repair for the harms and injustices caused by racism, they represent an important acknowledgement by the City and are the critical first steps on our path to healing.”
In order to be eligible for benefits, participants must have been a city resident and at least 18 years old between 1919 and 1969, or be a direct descendant of an individual “harmed” by discriminatory housing policies or practices during this time period, according to village information about the program. For those who lived in Evanston after 1969, they can become eligible by demonstrating they were subjected to discriminatory housing by the city. All 16 recipients fall under the ancestor category of eligibility.
Revenue for the program is provided by the city’s Municipal Cannabis Retailers’ Occupation Tax following approval by Evanston City Council in late March. Of the $10 million in total funding for reparations programs, $400,000 was set aside for housing assistance and mortgage relief in an effort to address what city officials deemed harm done by racially discriminatory housing policies, according to city information about the program.
City officials said in the release that money has already been disbursed to the lenders of the two individuals who chose home mortgage assistance in the amounts of $25,000 each. Additionally, the release states, partial payment has been made to begin home improvement work for one of the recipients.
Next steps for the Reparations Committee include planning for the remaining 106 ancestor applicants as well as verification of all descendant applicants, the release states.
“I’m proud of our community for taking this bold and courageous action to begin the process of remedying racial disparities that have harmed our Black community for decades,” former 8th Ward Ald. Ann Rainey said in a statement. “We can only move forward as a city and as a nation when we acknowledge past harms and take concrete steps to eliminate long standing barriers to housing, education, employment and other opportunities.”